Sunday, September 25, 2011

Book Review: I Never Intended to Be Brave, by Heather Andersen

Would you have the courage to bicycle across southern Africa -- alone? Most of us probably wouldn’t, and cyclist Heather Andersen didn’t intend to do so, either. Initially, she recruited a group of people to make the trip with her. But they all dropped out except for one man, whom Heather had never met. But after traveling for a while together, they soon realized that they had very different riding styles and personalities. They split up, and Heather suddenly had a big decision to make: Did she have the courage to continue on her trek alone? Or was it too risky for a lone woman to bicycle through countries that weren’t exactly touted for their stability and safety? Despite her reservations and fears, Heather decided to continue on her journey alone. The result is chronicled in her book, I Never Intended to Be Brave: A Woman’s Bicycle Journey Through Southern Africa.

In reading this book, I was inspired by Heather’s courage and ingenuity. So often, things went wrong. Her bicycle would break; she’d be caught in fierce headwinds; she’d receive poor directions and get lost. But she always boldly worked around these obstacles and plunged forward into the unknown. Along the way, she was soothed by the beauty of the scenery and wildlife around her and encouraged by the friendliness of the people she encountered. It was only near the end of her trip that Heather’s worst fears came true and she became a crime victim. But despite this tragic finale, Heather insists she would do it all over again. She writes, “I wouldn’t give up having met all the people I met, seeing all the places I saw, feeling all the connection I felt. I wouldn’t give up having experienced the rhythm of life on the road without a schedule and the taste of true freedom that solo bike travel gave me. I wouldn’t give up having followed my dream.”

I Never Intended to Be Brave is an inspiring story that will encourage you to dream big, overcome your fears, and strive to reach your potential. In choosing an unconventional life, Heather says, “Neither this trip nor my life has ever been about taking the easy route, making the easy choice…. I refuse to be one of those people who turns old with a litany of regrets and a list of trips never taken.” Reading her book may inspire you, too, to live a life of “no regrets.” You can read more about Heather Andersen and her many adventures at Be sure to “Like” her on Facebook at


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